With a new exhibit at the USGA Golf Museum, the United States Golf Association is celebrating women’s contributions to the game.
From 19th-century women who created new clubs and redesigned golf courses for female play to modern-day women architects who are improving the game, the women of golf have transformed the sport over the years. And the United States Golf Association’s “Breaking New Ground: Women and Golf Course Architecture” museum exhibit seeks to remember their contributions.
“We tell a really fascinating story and get to bridge the gap between these women who formed their own golf clubs at the turn of the century and also women who are metaphorically breaking new ground today—who are pioneers in the field of modern golf course architecture and who are doing a lot to make the game more accessible to everyone,” USGA Historian Victoria Student said.
The exhibit at the USGA Golf Museum opened on July 12—the evening before the association’s 72nd U.S. Women’s Open Championship—and will be on display to the public through December 2018.
“These incredible women not only shaped the dialogue surrounding how courses could be more welcoming to other women—they also inspired new generations to build careers and opportunities in golf,” USGA President Diana Murphy said in a press release. “We all have something to learn from their ingenuity and passion for the game, and the USGA couldn’t be prouder to showcase their contributions.”
Student explained that the museum allows USGA to tell the story of golf and remember what has been traditionally important to the game, as well as gives professional and hobbyist players insight into the game’s history and USGA’s initiatives.
“Part of our USGA mission is to help preserve and care for the game and to do what’s in the best interest of the game of golf,” she said. “And one of the aspects of that is preserving our legacy and preserving the stories of champions and championships that have helped shape the game in the history of the United States and the world.”
In addition to the museum, USGA celebrates golf’s history through its championships and trophies and by making decisions while considering the historical context and traditions around golf and its rules, equipment, and courses.
“These are all areas of the association where it’s important to look back and remind ourselves of how the game developed and how the decisions that we make as an association fit into that puzzle,” Student said.
But even associations that don’t have the space or resources to host a museum can curate their own history. Student recommends they have a firm understanding of their past and future direction, focus on their contributions and areas of strength, and remind the public of their work through communications efforts.
“It’s important for associations to just look back and remember where they’ve come from, where they’re going, and what have those steps been, and then make sure that they’re communicating that to the people that they’re interacting with on a daily basis,” she said.